The toughest challenges facing college graduates in 2014

Competition (too few jobs and too many graduates)

Here is the scenario… You have graduated college with a good looking degree; you feel on top of the world and ready to pick and choose your dream job. The reality however is that your one of a many in the same boat. While you feel as though you would be best suited for a particular role there can be hundreds of other people who feel the same way as you. I often tell the story about my days as a recruitment consultant where I used to recruit for graduate positions. I would post a graduate position on the job boards and by lunch time I would have 200 applicants in my inbox. So what can you do to differentiate yourself from the rest of the crowd? You need to ensure that your resume is in the top 5-10% of all resumes. A single mistake in your resume can be the difference between your resume ending up in the interview stack or in the deleted folder

Downturn in the economy:

We are all sick and tired of hearing about the global financial situation, sluggish economic growth and rising unemployment. Unfortunately this is the situation which new graduates find themselves facing when looking for a job. My best advice is to network, stay patient and increase the effort into the job search. You are going to have setbacks and days when you feel like the whole world is against you. The real challenge will be ones of Continuing perseverance and confidence.

Lack of Real world experience:

My advice to all graduates (and those preparing to graduate) is to seek work experience. I personally hated this advice while I was at university but looking back now my work experience helped me plan out my career and gain vital experience in competitive industries. When the time came to put forward my resume, my previous work experience set me apart from many of my competitors.

Too high expectations:

Many graduates complete university and expect to hand pick the job which they want. Furthermore, graduates have an expectation that they know what is best and should actually be the boss rather than working for the boss. So many times I have had graduates apply for job positions which are so unrealistic and then get despondent because they are not getting interview requests. It’s important for graduates to realize that they need to gain the experience before they can call themselves the boss.

Debate between further higher education and job seeking

Do you continue to study or start straight away with the job seeking? Many graduates don’t have a choice in this matter but for those who do continuing to study can lead to greater results long term (financial and job position) and also further help distinguish yourself apart form other graduates. On the other hand is it better to start working and get your foot in the door? There’s no better education then real life experience of learning on the job.

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3 Delicate Job Interview Questions And Answers

CAREER1) What would your manager say is the area you most need development in?

This question is another attempt at learning more about your weaknesses. We all have areas we could improve on, but in order to ace your interview, you’ll have to be strategic in how you answer this question. Do not name a weakness that will interfere with your ability to perform the job well. You can either:

  1. Tell about a weakness you have that will have no relevance to this job.
  2. Name a strength that you want to become even better in.


  1. Mention an area of improvement that could be seen as an asset in the job, even if it negatively affects your personal life.
  2. After you mention the area for development, talk about the steps you have taken to correct or eliminate that as an area of development.
  3. Give an example of how you have already improved on the development area by the actions you have taken to improve them.
  4. Mention an area of improvement that everyone could do with improvement on, such as detail-management or finding the right work-life balance.
  5. If possible, try to talk to your references prior to the interview to ask them what they would say are your strengths and weaknesses so you’re on the same page and your answers don’t conflict.

Example: “I have a tendency to micromanage the details of a project because I really want to produce the best possible product. I have taken steps to try to trust my staff more and give them the space they need to work on their part. I limit myself to weekly team meetings where I get feedback on the status of each team member’s progress, and this has been going really well.”
2) Tell me about a time that you failed at something.

Hiring managers love to ask these types of behavioral interview questions, especially related to your weaknesses and failures. It may seem unfair, but hiring managers can gain a lot of insight about you by hearing your answer to these types of questions. The truth is that everyone has areas for improvement, and everyone has likely failed at something at one point or another. How you deal with failure and react to it, shows a great deal about your work ethic and character—something hiring managers also want to know about to determine your fit with the company. Failures can bring about positive outcomes as long as you learned something from the experience, and this is what employers want to see. That you can recognise your own failures, take responsibility for them, and then learn and grow from them moving forward.


  1. Choose a failure that you learned something from which helped you to become better at what you do now.
  2. Try to choose failures that were failures not because of a primary skill you need to succeed at the job, but rather a simple mistake such as time management, etc.
  3. Choose a time you failed that was towards the beginning of your career, or a long time ago so that you don’t give the impression that you fail at a lot of things now.
  4. Explain the situation you were in, what mistake you made and why you made it, then let them know what you learned from it and what actions you took to ensure you would not make the same mistake again in the future.

Example: “When I first started out in my career, I was a little over-ambitious about getting as many properties rented out as quickly as possible. I ended up making too many appointments in one day and wasn’t able to meet with every client that I had arranged to. I ended up losing a couple of clients because of my poor time management practice. That experience made me realise how important it is to be reliable to clients and not to waste their time by being late or having to cancel appointments. I now leave plenty of time for each client and have longer relationships with the clients I have, which has made me more successful in my work.”

3) How long would you plan to stay with us, if hired?

This is a pretty simple question to answer. It costs companies a lot of time and money to go through the recruitment and hiring process, training new employees and getting new employees completely settled in their position until you’re up to full capacity in the role. It’s in the best interest for companies not to hire candidates who will only leave a few months into the job when they find a better opportunity. If you have stayed in your previous jobs for a significant amount of time, you can use it as an example for how long you’d like to stay here if hired. If you’ve held a lot of short-term jobs, however, then you might need to convince the hiring manager that you aren’t planning to leave soon if hired, but that you’re looking for a longer-term position with the company.


  1. Use this opportunity to tell the hiring manager what a good fit this job is for you and where you are in your career. The better fit you are for the position, the more likely you would stay longer in the position.
  2. If you stayed in your last position for 5 years, you can state how long you were in your last position and say you’d like to stay even longer in this position if it worked out.
  3. If you’ve only stayed in your previous positions for short time periods, feel free to give a short explanation of why that was, what you learned from it and state your intentions for staying much longer in the position you are now applying for.

Example: “I left after less than a year in my previous company because there was an illness in my family and I needed to relocate to be able to help a family member recover. I regret having to leave so soon, because I don’t feel I learned everything I could have from the position, but I would like to stay with your company for at least 5 years, I hope even longer than that. I’m looking for a position and a company where I could really start a career in.”

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5 Workplace Job Interview Questions And Answers

cover1) How do you motivate others to do their best work?

The hiring manager may have asked you what motivates you in the workplace, but now they want to know if, and how you motivate your colleagues to perform their best work. Typically goal-oriented and results-driven professionals who have a positive attitude will also motivate their co-workers to perform at their best. It’s a huge asset to have this type of employee in the company who will also encourage and support others to do their best work, and therefore have the company operate more efficiently and successfully. Convince the hiring manager that you are the type of employee who motivates others by your own actions to do their best work, and you’ll definitely score points in landing the job.


  1. Give concrete examples of instances where you motivated others, were praised by your manager for motivating others, or a co-worker thanked you for motivating them.
  2. One of the best ways to motivate others is to lead by example, so talk about the positive ways you conduct yourself in the workplace that can help motivate fellow co-workers.
  3. Being a supportive and encouraging colleague also helps to motivate team members.

Example: “I try to motivate my colleagues to do their best work by staying focused and motivated in my own job, and encouraging others in the tasks they are working on. My previous manager praised me on my ability to support fellow team members who would fall behind on deadlines.”

2) Are you effective at meeting deadlines?

Meeting deadlines is a major part of every job. Without any deadlines, there would be no clear ending point for a project and productivity would slow down. Some jobs in particular have clear deadlines that are always right around the corner. Missing deadlines can mean losing a bid on a project, upsetting clients, losing money or becoming incompliant with government policies and regulations. That’s why it’s imperative that employees are able to successfully meet deadlines in the workplace. It’s also critical that as a job candidate, you can show that you would be the type of employee that can meet tight deadlines and still deliver high quality work.


  1. The answer should always be YES; however, you can’t stop there. Back up your answer by talking about previous jobs where you had to meet a lot of strict deadlines and did it successfully.
  2. If you aren’t effective at meeting deadlines, this may come up when the employer contacts your references. Discuss the steps you have taken to become even better at ensuring you never miss a deadline and that you always manage enough time to get the work done well, prior to the deadline.

Example: “Yes, I am effective at meeting deadlines. I have excellent organization and time management skills and factor in the necessary time to get my work done to the best of my ability, and ensure there is time to look it over and edit as necessary. In this line of work, meeting deadlines is critical to performing the work well, and I have proven in my past experience that I am effective at meeting all deadlines.”

3) Are you a good decision maker? Do you make decisions quickly or do you take time to think things over before making a decision?

Unless you’re applying for a position where you are expected to take orders constantly and never actually think for yourself, being a good decision maker is a very useful skill to have, and critical to any upper management position. This question can be tricky if you’re not prepared for it. There are negative aspects to being a very quick decision-maker and not taking enough time to think things over properly, and it’s also not good to take a long time to make a decision when decisions need to be made quickly. As in many aspects of the job, it’s best to strike a balance between being able to make quick decisions while being able to analyze the situation and different approaches properly.


  1. For any position, the answer should be, of course, that you are a sound decision maker.
  2. Don’t say you are only one or the other type of decision maker. You should be able to think critically and not make decisions without thinking things through, however you should also be able to make tough decisions under a tight deadline when needed.
  3. Give insight into the thought process you use in order to make good decisions in the workplace.

Example: “I am a very efficient and sound decision maker. I am able to quickly analyze a situation, look at it from multiple perspectives and outcomes, and then make the best decision for the benefit of the company.”

4) Tell me about a time you had to give someone difficult feedback.

If you’ve worked in a management position, you’ve most likely needed to give difficult feedback at some point or another. It can be a sensitive subject to deliver any type of criticism or difficult feedback, so knowing how to do it well is a very important skill to master. Hiring managers are looking for evidence that you understand the sensitivity of providing negative feedback and can consider how to properly frame things in order to correct undesirable work or behavior and keep up the morale of staff members. It requires you to think about how a particular person might react to the feedback you give them, what the impact may be on them and how to get the desired outcome. Higher levels of communication skills are required for managing people, especially when it comes to providing feedback. By asking this question, hiring managers want to ensure that you have the skills to do this effectively.


  1. Choose an example of a time you had to give negative feedback and that person took it well and changed the behavior to lead to the desired outcome.
  2. Use your story to highlight your communications style and approach when addressing difficult feedback to employees.
  3. Walk the hiring manager through the situation, your thought process in deciding how best to approach the individual, and how you gave the negative feedback in a way that produced a positive outcome.
  4. Delivering negative feedback should always be about correcting the behavior and allowing individuals to understanding how you want them to change or what you need them to do in order to be successful.

Example: “I had an employee who was coming in late to the office every day and still leaving at the same time. I needed to talk to him about putting in the required time at the office for what he was being paid for. Knowing this particular individual, I knew he was a hard worker and wouldn’t ordinarily cut corners on the job. I asked to speak to him privately one day and told him we’ve noticed he’s getting to the office later each day and leaving earlier, and asked him what was going on. He admitted he had been coming in later because his wife’s schedule had changed and he now needed to drop off his kids at school in the morning and it was making him late to the office. After some discussion, I offered to allow him to work less hours in the office if he could put in the 1 hour of time he was missing in the evening. We agreed to try it out for a month to see if it would work, and I was able to see that he was indeed putting in the extra time at home and capable of working the flexible hour.”

5) What are your workplace values?

This question is similar to asking what your work ethic is. Employers want to know that you have a strong work ethic and that your values match the values of the company. With this question, the hiring manager can determine what kind of person you are and what matters to you in the workplace. Everyone has their own set of values; you just need to articulate yours during the interview. Speak to your work ethic, integrity and character. Keep it positive and related to your work. If you know the company culture and what values they profess, you can highlight your own values that align with theirs. Working for a company with similar values will help you to be satisfied in your job. If you work for a company that only values profit margins, and doesn’t allow any flexibility for employees with families, you may find that you’re miserable in the job if those aren’t things you value.

Examples: “I always try to be transparent and reliable in the workplace. I practice integrity and follow through with my commitments. I treat others with respect and always try to think about the good of the team.”

“I try to give 110% in the workplace. I look at the employee-employer relationship as a partnership which requires a strong investment and commitment. I am being paid for my service and I should in turn give my best effort and use all company time for the right purposes.”

“I view myself as well as my colleagues as part of a team, working towards a common goal to achieve the objectives of the company. As such, I always try to fulfill my role to the best of my ability and don’t settle for less than great performance.”

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4 Simple Steps For Preparing For The First Day On The Job

40Congratulations! You wrote the perfect resume, you nailed the job interview and today is your first day of work. Starting a new job is not only exciting but can also be nerve-wracking. So many questions going through your mind and nervous energy building up inside you. Before you leave home, there are 5 simple things that you can do to ensure that you are properly prepared for your first day.

Eat breakfast:

The worst thing you can do is go to your job without having breakfast. As the experts say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. My advice is eating a breakfast with long lasting energy. Being, your first day in the office you don’t know if you will have an opportunity to eat throughout the day and nothing is worse than coming to 3pm and running out of energy. Although the butterflies may be flying around in your stomach eating breakfast will ensure that you portray a great first impression and don’t get burnt out before the day is finished.

Dress for success:

How you dress and how you look says a lot about the person you are. If you come to work with a shirt hanging out and dirty shoes, you present an unprofessional image of not caring. If you work in a corporate environment, not dressing for success, can portray a negative image about the way you work. Remember, that first impressions count and in the work environment it is important that we portray the right impression. Understanding your working environment is the key, and this should drive you in the right direction. Dressing for success will not only make you feel a winner, but will also send the right image to those around you about your professionalism and attitude.

Know your location and arrive early.

Before you leave your front door, ensure that you know exactly where your new job is located. Nothing is worse than getting lost on your first day! Although you have probably been to your office for the job interview, still make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to arrive. Remember it is safer to arrive early then to arrive late. There is no worse first impression then arriving to work late on your very first day.

Bring a notebook and a pen:

Without knowing exactly what is going to occur on your first day, my advice is to take a pen and paper so you are ready to write down any important bits of information. It is impossible to remember everything you have learned on the first day and it can be valuable to be able to go over your notes that evening. In addition, having a pen and paper will also enable you to write down future questions you may have to ask your colleagues or supervisor.

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You Got The Interview! Now Prepare For The Interview Questions

Congratulations on securing your job interview! Now it’s time to begin preparing for that scary job interview.

At RedStarResume we have created a brand new job interview eBook to help you find success. The “Top 100 Job Interview Questions & Answers” has been written by our team of experts to help you answer any tricky question that may come your way. For only $9.95 you can guarantee that your ready to nail the job interview and find success. Dont delay. Purchase your copy of the eBook by click on the link below.

Top 100 Job Interview Questions & Answers

Top 100 Job Interview Questions & Answers


Job Interview Question – How do you deal with stressful situations?

woman_going_crazyHow do you deal with stressful situations is a fantastic interview question and one that is used by hiring managers in all industries throughout the world.

While this question is similar to ‘do you work well under pressure’, here hiring managers want to know what you do to actually cope with stress in your daily life. You’ll likely encounter stressful situations at least once in a while in most jobs, but especially in customer service or other positions where you deal directly with the public or clients.

If you’re applying for these types of positions, then it’s important for employers to know that you can handle stress in a healthy way without blowing up at customers, taking it out on coworkers or burn out quickly and quit the job. You should always emphasize that you have a high tolerance for stress and give examples of very stressful situation in which you stayed calm, continued in a professional manner and coped with the stress later in a healthy way.


  1. Everyone deals with stress differently, and not all ways of dealing with stress are healthy or effective. Only bring up positive things you do to deal with stress.
  2.  Keep your answer focused on workplace stress and avoid talking about stress in your personal life.

Don’t Say:

  1. “If it’s a customer being unreasonable then I’ll put him back in his place. I don’t need to deal with rude customers.”


“I usually handle stress well and have a high tolerance for stressful situations. I try to remain calm in stressful situations, take deep breaths and try not to get emotional but rather act in an appropriate, professional manner. For example, I once had a customer who became irate when he learned the store’s return policy was only valid for 30 days and he had exceeded that time. He was screaming and even insulting me, however I remained calm and explained the policy and why it was in place. I then offered to show him some other products he might be interested in exchanging the item for. I believe the only reason he ended up calming down was because I remained calm and did not give in to a heated argument.”

© RedStarResume Publicationshttp://www.bestresponseresume.com/

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View our brand new eBook “Top 100 Job Interview Questions & Answers

About the Author:

Amanda Ryan is a Program Development Associate & Senior Resume Writer at RedStarResume. Amanda is a highly skilled resume writer and career expert specializing in international Resume Writing:

Check out our country specific resume writing websites:

USA: http://www.redstarresume.com/

Canada: http://www.redstarresume.ca/

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3 Commonly Asked Interview Questions & Answers

Hiring managers love to see how you handle tough job interview questions under pressure. They also want to gain a better understanding of your ability to manage conflict and challenges in the workplace:

1) Explain a challenge you faced in the workplace & how you solved it.

This is a pretty open-ended question during the interview. This is another question you should be prepared for ahead of time with a relevant example to avoid taking a long pause to think about it, or coming up with a challenge that hurts rather than helps you in the interview. From your answer, the hiring manager can tell what you consider to be a difficult situation in the workplace, and how you’re able to solve problems that arise. Start by explaining the challenge, how you identified it and what options were available to address the challenge. Then explain what you did to fix the challenge and the resulting outcome. It should go without saying, but only choose challenges that had a positive outcome because of an action you made.


  1. Have an example ready in the back of your mind prior to the interview.
  2. Use challenges that were not actually caused by you and that can be summarized briefly to avoid a lengthy story.
  3. If possible, use an example that shows skills or qualities you used to solve the challenge that will be relevant to this job.
  4. Show the hiring manager that you can use logical reasoning to solve a problem.
  5. Show that you have the employer’s best interests at heart.
  6. Always end with a positive outcome. Don’t use challenges that were never completely resolved.

Example: “At my previous company, we had a new hire quit after only one month on the job. While we tried to get the second most qualified candidate, she had already taken a position elsewhere. The hiring process had to start all over again, so I split up tasks between myself and two other colleagues in the department so that we could stay on top of the work meant for the vacant position. It took about 3 months to hire another candidate but luckily the work did not suffer and my team was praised for our hard work and commitment.”

2) Tell me about a time you disagreed with your supervisor about how something should be done. How did you deal with it?

The best answer to this question is not, “I’ve never disagreed with a boss before.” At some point, disagreements happen in the workplace even to the nicest and non-confrontational people. But it’s also not the time to launch into a rant about how difficult your previous supervisor and coworkers were to work with. The key is to stay calm and professional when talking about a small disagreement or misunderstanding you’ve experienced with a supervisor, then show the logical and mature attitude you used to solve the disagreement.


  1. Never criticize or talk badly about a former supervisor or boss.
  2. Always stress communication and compromise in your solution.
  3. End with a positive outcome and express how you grew from the experience.

Example: “I’ve never had a large disagreement with a supervisor, however there was a time I had been working on a large project for 6 weeks. Another specialized project came in and my supervisor asked me to hand the project off to a colleague to begin work on this new one. I was only a week away from completing the project and presenting it to the client and really wanted to finish what I started. After giving it some thought, I spoke to my supervisor and asked if this new project couldn’t wait a few more days. We talked it over and compromised on having a colleague assist me to finish my initial project faster so that I could start working

3) Have you had a conflict with a colleague? How did you handle it?

Almost everyone has had some sort of conflict with a colleague in the past. Although it may be uncomfortable to answer the question, if you say you’ve never had a conflict, hiring managers may press you to think of a time when you did, or think you’re being untruthful. In my experience, job candidates do best when they give a brief explanation of a small conflict they had with a coworker and show what they did to resolve it.

As a hiring manager, I’ve seen too many employees who don’t get along well with others and are prone to competition and gossip among fellow coworkers. In order to have a positive, team-oriented office, finding new employees who will get along well with colleagues, supervisors and clients is extremely important.


  1. Don’t go into too many details about the colleague or conflict.
  2. Avoid badmouthing the colleague or appearing defensive in your response.
  3. Demonstrate a mature, team-oriented attitude in your response.
  4. Show what you learned from the experience and end on a positive note.
  5. Example: “Unfortunately everyone occasionally has a conflict or time when they don’t see eye-to-eye with a colleague. I’ve found that the best way to deal with a conflict with a colleague is to be open-minded and to communicate honestly with them. Listening and trying to understand their perspective can make it easier to come up with a cooperative solution to the issue.”

© RedStarResume Publications – http://www.bestresponseresume.com

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RedStarResume

About the Author:

Amanda Ryan is a Program Development Associate & Senior Resume Writer at RedStarResume. Amanda is a highly skilled resume writer and career expert specializing in international Resume Writing:

Check out our country specific resume writing websites:

USA: http://www.redstarresume.com/

Canada: http://www.redstarresume.ca/

Australia / NZ: http://www.bestresponseresume.com/

Asia: http://www.redstarresume.asia/

India: http://www.redstarresume.in/

UK / Europe http://www.redstarresume.co.uk/

Contact Us today and see how can help you find success!


Job Interview Questions and Answers

job_searchAfter you have constructed the perfect resume and applied for your dream job you will hopefully receive a call inviting you for the job interview. This is when things begin to get scary! However by having an understanding of the types of interview questions you may be asked will ensure that you give yourself the greatest opportunity of nailing the job interview and being offered a new job.

Below we have listed 3 standard interview questions relating to why you applied for the job position, why should the company hire you above your competitors and where do you see yourself in 5 years.

Why did you apply for this position?

All companies want to know that the candidate they hire for a position genuinely wants to work for their company and in the specific role they’re hiring for. Whatever your true intentions are—whether you were retrenched from a previous job and need to make a living, or you’re miserable at your current job and are looking for anything else you can find, don’t make the mistake of appearing as if you don’t really want the position or aren’t serious about it. The truth is, there should be something that interests you about the position and company you are applying to work for, and otherwise you should question whether you should even be applying in the first place.

In order to answer this question well, spend some time examining what you like about the company such as culture, work environment or industry, and about the work you would be doing at the company. Once you hone in on exactly why you want the job, you can relate why you want the position to how your skills and personality make you a good fit for the position.
Example (if you are applying for a customer service position): “I applied for this position because I am very sociable and enjoy communicating with people and would like to use this skill in my career. I have been told by friends that I can sell a ketchup Popsicle to a woman wearing a white dress, and I have demonstrated this in my proven track record selling game tickets for my universities sports games. I am applying for this entry level customer service position because I feel I have all the right skills and attributes to succeed.”

Why should we hire you over another candidate for this position?

This is your chance to toot your own horn and really sell yourself for the job. You must be completely familiar with the job description and the desired qualifications and attributes to link your skills, experience, education and personality to the position you are applying for. Practice this question with a friend beforehand, as you should be able to persuade the interviewer to hire you based on this question. Whatever doubts you have or experience you lack, keep them to yourself. If the hiring manager asks you this question then you better believe you’re the best candidate for the job, and be able to convince him/her that you are the best candidate for this position.

A good answer will include your top strengths for the position including:

1. Knowledge or experience in the industry
2. Technical skills
3. Soft skills
4. Key accomplishments or demonstrated success in previous positions
5. Experience performing certain tasks
6. Awards or recognition
7. Education and training

Tip: It’s not always the most qualified, paper-perfect job candidate that gets hired. Hiring managers are also looking to hire someone who is likeable, confident and who they could picture fitting in well with the company’s culture and environment.

Example (for a project management position): “I have all the qualities and experience that you’re looking for in an ideal candidate and I am confident that I’d be successful in the role. I have demonstrated my ability to lead successful projects for top companies in the past and have excellent people skills which have allowed me to develop great relationships with clients, vendors and partners alike. I also have a real passion for this industry which motivates me to deliver high-quality work.”

What are your career goals and where do you see yourself in 5 years?

The interviewer is asking you this question to see what your career goals are and how this position fits in to the larger picture of where you see yourself going. If this position fits well into your overall career plan, then the likelihood is that you will work hard to be successful in the job. The key to answering this question well is to focus on achievable goals. You don’t want to be too specific about the position you want to be in and your answer should be related to the job and company for which you are interviewing.

1. Keep your answer general enough so that it doesn’t raise questions about your suitability for the position.
2.Emphasize your interest in a long-term career at the company.
3.Express your interest in this position as an integral part of your ultimate career plans.

Example: “Right now I’d like to find a position at a company where I can develop my skills and take on new challenges and responsibilities over time. I’d like to acquire more management responsibilities in the next 5 years, but most importantly I want to work for a company where I can see myself working long-term and building a career.”

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